Public lecture by Professor Leighton Andrews

The role of social media has become a major topic on debates about the future of society and democracy. With over two billion users across the globe, two-thirds of whom use it daily for about an hour, market capitalization of $445 billion, sharing dominance of online and particularly mobile advertising with Google, and owning other key applications including Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook has unprecedented market power and has become a major player in shaping whole societies through its role in media dissemination, civic organization and as an electoral platform.

Resistant to categorization as a media company, Facebook has been called by its founder Mark Zuckerberg a social utility or critical social infrastructure. Today, following the ‘Fake News’ issues of 2016 in the USA and UK, its dominance is under challenge from regulators and lawmakers in Europe and elsewhere. Facebook is the most visible face of big tech, challenging hard-pressed regulators to respond to its former agenda to ‘move fast and break things’. The lecture will raise regulatory questions around big data and the internet platforms.

Leighton Andrews is Professor of Practice in Public Service Leadership and Innovation at Cardiff Business School.Formerly Minister for Education and Skills and Minister for Public Services in Carwyn Jones's Welsh Labour Governments from 2009-16, a Deputy Minister in Rhodri Morgan's One Wales Government from 2007-9 and Assembly Member for the Rhondda from 2003-16. Prior to his election to the National Assembly in 2003, Leighton had had a successful career in the private, public and voluntary sectors. He was the BBC's Head of Public Affairs in London from 1993-1996 during its Charter Renewal campaign He ran a number of businesses in the public relations field and set up his own business after leaving the BBC.


enquiries to Professor Gary Rawnsley, Director of the GCRC,‌